As I mentioned in my last post, we thought that the Player of the Week and Diamond in the Rough deserved more acknowledgement than they received in the past as part of our Draft Slant coverage. Thus, each Monday/ (in this case Tuesday), I'll post the name and rationale for those players here on the blog.
Player of the Week, along with The Diamond in the Rough (small school prospect), used to be features of Draft Slant. This PDF file can be purchased as an individual issue or one can purchase the entire year (16 issues). Or, if you just want to see an example, you can download this free sample of Week One here.
Jacksonville State offensive lineman Curt Ponder jumped off the screen with his play Saturday in the Gamecocks upset over Ole Miss. As you can read below, he is very deserving to be my first Diamond in the Rough for the 2010-11 season.
Diamond in the Rough -- September 4, 2010
OL Curt Porter - Jacksonville State 6-7 / 315 / 5.20 -- opponent Mississippi
Jacksonville State's win at Ole Miss Saturday brought back memories of Appalachian State's win at Michigan three years ago...and with it, an exciting scouting opportunity. Appalachian State's win helped spark NFL interest into quarterback Armanti Edwards (Carolina, No. 89 overall, 2010), wide receiver Dexter Jackson (Tampa Bay, No. 58 overall, 2008) and safety Corey Lynch (Cincinnati, No. 177, 2008), among others. Similarly, NFL scouts will carefully pore over the Ole Miss-Jacksonville State game film to see which of the JSU Gamecocks were most responsible for their stunning 49-48 double-overtime victory. What scouts will find is that Porter, who earned Second-Team All-OVC honors last year at left tackle, was as valuable as anyone. Struggling with injuries along their offensive line, Porter, with all 22 of his career starts coming at left tackle, was asked to slide over and slow down Ole Miss' Jerrell Powe, the Rebels' 6-2, 330 pound All-American candidate. Powe was limited to only two tackles, including a one-yard tackle for loss. Porter, 6-7 and 315 pounds, alternated between left and right guard, played with surprising leverage and power considering his long frame. Porter also demonstrated the balance and foot quickness you'd expect from an all-conference left tackle, mirroring the pass rush of Ole Miss defenders. Perhaps most surprising was the comfort with which he and his teammates reacted to stunts and twists by the Rebel defensive linemen in the second half. Whether Porter moves back outside to left tackle or stays inside at guard the rest of the season, NFL scouts will certainly be keeping an eye on him.